The Winter Solstice is fast approaching, the longest night of the year - December 21st - just four days before we celebrate the Light of the World. Our recognition of the most radiant moment in history will presumably be preceded by deep darkness.
Seems to mirror the four hundred years of famine experienced by God's people between Malachi and Matthew where God's Word was concerned, the silent centuries before Jesus came to the earth and the prophets were once again propelled into action, filled with fire, and ignited with Divine inspiration.
I've been struggling through my own dark night of the soul, and I know the desperation at every turn to know God's Word, to have His light on my path...the tiniest glimmer a reason to rejoice. I find myself straining to hear, desperate to dispense of anything that drowns out His voice - "laying aside every weight"* as it were - hardly willing to wait four minutes for this mainstay of manna, much less four days...but four hundred years? I can't even imagine.....
Despite the darkness, I feel Grace's gravitational pull; I find myself returning to things I'd lost sight of...the fundamentals of forgiveness, the merit of mercy, the call to compassion. And I feel the Potter carving out in me a new capacity for these, the Sculptor chiseling away at my stony heart...transforming this Pharisee into a forgiven, faithful servant, the Prodigal purged from the heart of His cherished child.
Life displacing Death
A painful process, yes, but a "light affliction"* none the less, momentary at that, and nothing He didn't experience Himself*, therefore "we do not lose heart"*.
"We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed" -2 Corinthians 4:8,9
Hope outweighs my heavy heart, buoying my broken spirit. My faith floats on the surface of the storm and the beacon of His benediction breaks through the black night.
Though for now "I see through a glass darkly"*, I celebrate the One Who saved me and Who will surely shepherd me through the valley of the shadow of death* into His marvelous light, into the dawning of a new day.
*2 Corinthians 4:17
*Psalm22:1, Matthew 27:46
*2 Corinthians 4:16
*1 Corinthians 13:12